There's rosemary, that's for remembrance.
William Shakespeare: Hamlet, Prince of Denmark



Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Abelardo Balderrama

Stay with me here.....maybe someone can help me out....

There is a diner in the little town of Dover called The Dish. On the wall leading to the bathrooms is a long string hanging between two nails. On that string are old photos attached with clothespins. I love looking at those old photos and thought I was clever enough to replicate the look at home. I still have a lot of old family photos and thought I would dress the look up by using a ribbon rather than a string. Umm, it doesn't look as quaint as the string of photos at The Dish.

While looking for just the right photos of my family, I found for probably the 1000th time, old photos and letters of/from a man named Abelardo Balderrama. They are addressed to both of my parents and the early letters have salutations of Mr. and Mrs. Lucas. They range in date from 1943 to 1945. The photos and letters were sent during Abelardo's time in the Army during WWII.

Abelardo is/was a very polite, well written, nice man....I can absolutely tell from his letters. He had a great sense of humor and was obviously fond of my parents. I can also tell from his responses that there are a lot of missing letters to my folks......I received your three letters and I have only written two back. I'm sorry.

Some excerpts from his letters will give you a flavor of Abelardo's personality.

Am I happy today! Yesterday I graduated from school and received my aerial gunners wings along with a Staff Sergeants rating. That means a paycheck of $96 a month plus flying pay. Boy, oh boy!

I am currently stationed at Tullahoma, Tennessee. I know what Noah felt when he saw it rain for 40 days and nights. The town is just a wide place in the road.

I am currently stationed at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. It rains down here every night and the mosquitoes are awful. The women all wear shorts because of the heat during the day. Sometimes I wish I was a mosquito.

It's difficult to write anything interesting from here......but I cannot so excuse my letters if they are laconic and uninteresting. I have also felt weak in the knees at times....but so far I have been more than lucky.
This was written from Italy 1944.

So.....I was telling Steve about Abelardo and he said: Just go online and look the guy up. You should be able to find out all kinds of stuff about him.

Sorry, Steve. Not so easy. I have spent days trying to find any line...straight, curved, broken, potholed...anything that would lead me to find out what happened to Abelardo Balderrama after that last letter in early 1945.

I was able to find his enlistment stats on a government site. I have his Army serial number, birth state, enlistment place, year of birth and the fact that he was a high school graduate and was a waiter before he enlisted. This leads me to think he met my mom and dad at Pat's cafe where my mom worked....this is also the place where I think my mom and dad met. Perhaps Abelardo was a waiter there. He also mentions in one of the letters another woman, Kay Chapman, who was a good friend of my mother's and worked with her at Pat's.

Most of the sites I found online want $$ to search for someone. Of course, there is no promise that a $29.95 search price (for one person only) will actually turn up anything about my Abelardo Balderrama. I was tempted to join the Ancestry site. So, I called my cousin in Virginia that had used that site to find my mother's family thinking she was still enrolled...but she no longer has a subscription.

I think Abelardo was a handsome, intelligent man. I like to think he married when he was discharged (I hope he was discharged and not killed in the war). I hope he had a family and that there might be children, grandchildren and great grandchildren looking for something of their loved one online and they will stumble upon this post. I would love to give Abelardo Balderrama's family these photos and letters. Anyone out there remember Abelardo Balderrama?



17 comments:

jan said...

I can't be any help. You've already thought of everything I would do. What a very nice thing you're doing though for people you don't know and for the memory of your parents.

powdergirl said...

No, no I don't know him. But the post is so charming and its so sweet that you want to get these things to his kin.

You're a nice lady, Rosemary.

YELLOWDOG GRANNY said...

there is a website i know of starts with a z..will see if i can find it and see what i can find..im a little bit of columbo..

YELLOWDOG GRANNY said...

Abelardo Balderrama
1400 S Turner St
Hobbs, NM 88240
(505) 391-9278
don't know if it' the same one..but if it is...look at the time it took me from when i commented .. till now..
hahahahahahahaha

kenju said...

WOW! Yellowdog Granny was surely quick! I hope he turns out to know about your guy, or be a close relative. Let us know.

kenju said...

I typed his name into Bing and got this:


http://www.mylife.com/181921406


Could be his son or grandson

Mom said...

I would love to know the rest of the story.
I wonder if there will be letters left for our grandchildren to ponder or will it all be found on google.

FoxyMoron said...

Come on Rosemary! Don't keep us in suspense, did you check out the commenters' leads? What a fascinating story! We just don't keep (or indeed write) letters anymore do we? I have kept various letters from people who are no longer with us and I treasure them and hope the children will also.
Funny I just got handwritten letters from both my sister, and my mother in law yesterday. Think I'll keep 'em.

rosemary said...

Well, thanks to several of you and my friend Delci, I have 6 addresses and I sent one email to a Balderrama. I am not sure if I want to call these people or not. I have addresses so I am thinking I will come up with a one size fits all letter and make a copy of one of the photos and send that off to the addresses I have. I was up at 2 this morning going through my mom's stuff and found another photo and 2 more letters that weren't in envelopes. Thanks to those of you that went to the trouble of looking people up. I'll let you all know what happens.

Sling said...

This is a fascinating endeavoe Rosemary.I hope it turns out well!

Miss Healthypants said...

Hi Rosemary,

The blogger "Worms Puppies Barbecue" is great at hunting people down. (She does lots of geneaology stuff.) I sent her a link to this blog posting, just in case she might want to check it out. :)

Good luck in your search! :) Keep us posted.

YELLOWDOG GRANNY said...

let us know if any of the ones we found were related..

sageweb said...

wow what a cool thing...the internets sure can surprise you..hope you find out more about him..you are like Nancy Drew.

madretz said...

such a mystery! i'm hooked and can't wait to hear if you come up with any leads.

Stel B said...

Abelardo Balderrama was my father. I was feeling quite nostalgic this evening, and did an Internet search for my mom and dad. I didn't really think that I would find anything, so I am amazed that I found his pictures, and a copy of that letter. Ever since I was a little girl, he would often tell me of a friend whose family he visited while in Tennessee. It has been many years since he last told me those stories, so I have not been able to remember the friend's name. Thank you so much for posting the letter and the pictures. It means a lot to me. Is there an e-mail address where I can write to you? Please let me know. Thank you so much.

Stel B said...

I had to write a second post. I was so amazed and excited about finding the pictures and the excerpts which you posted, that I missed a portion of what you had written. In reading it over, you are correct; my dad worked at Pat's Cafe. He may have started as a waiter, but he was actually a cook, and credited his time working there for his knowledge of cooking. He loved food and was a very good cook. He often told me stories about the wonderful people who worked with him at Pat's, as well as the customers he met there. It was truly a happy time in his life, and one that was quite memorable. He considered everyone there a friend. As I sit here writing this, I still cannot believe what I have found here. Other than myself, I don't currently know anyone else who knows about Pat's. I sit here in absolute amazement. Please let me know where I can write to you. I would really appreciate it. Thank you.

Cynthia V. Catchings said...

Stel B, this is such an amazing page. I have a question since I am looking for my ancestors as well. Was his Father's name Alfredo or did he have a sister named Dolores?
Thank you for your response!